Commonwealth v. Harold Vincent Cole Jr.; Jury Recommends Shooter Spend 29 Years in Prison for Robbery, Murder

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Colin D. Stolle, Commonwealth's Attorney for the city of Virginia Beach, announced that Harold Vincent Cole Jr., 32 years old, formerly of the 900 block of Newtown Road in Virginia Beach, Virginia, was found guilty of First Degree Murder, Robbery, Use of a Firearm, and Conspiracy after a three-day jury trial.  The jury recommended a sentence of 29 years in prison. Circuit Court Judge H. Thomas Padrick, who presided over the trial, will formally sentence Cole on May 7, 2018.

The Commonwealth's evidence proved that on June 16, 2016, co-defendant Malik Brown made arrangements to buy marijuana from 19-year-old Gregory Delong.  Brown and Delong knew each other previously, and Brown was unhappy with Delong about the quality of the marijuana Delong previously sold him.  Around the same time, Harold Vincent Cole Jr., who went by the name of "Taliban," owed money to Brown.  Taliban and Brown came up with a plan to rob Delong during the drug deal, so that Brown's debt from Taliban could be made whole.  Taliban encouraged Brown to set up this drug deal with Delong and the two planned to "scare" Delong. 

Around 3 p.m., Delong sent a text message to Brown telling Brown to meet him at 1033 Carriage House Road, in an apartment complex parking lot. When Delong arrived, Brown and Taliban got into his car.  Taliban, who was seated behind the driver's seat, began to strike Delong in the head with the gun. Brown exited the car to see whether the scene had attracted the attention of police or bystanders.  Brown heard Delong begging for Taliban to stop.  Taliban then shot Delong once in the head.  Delong died immediately. 

Taliban and Brown stole marijuana and fled.  They returned to the scene a few minutes later to clean up potential evidence left behind.  They wiped down the inside of the car and took two cell phones belonging to Delong.  Police were called to the scene hours later and began an investigation.  Special Agent Wendell Cosenza of the FBI Cellular Analysis and Surveillance Team (C.A.S.T.) provided critical assistance in this case.  Cell phone records indicated that Brown was the last person Delong contacted before he was found dead. Further cell phone analysis showed frequent communication between Brown and Taliban shortly after the murder and in the days following, including messages referencing news reports of the murder. 

Brown and Taliban were developed as suspects and arrested separately within a few days of the crime. While being housed at a jail, Taliban confessed to another inmate about his involvement in the murder.  Another witness testified that Cole attempted to give him the murder weapon. 

Co-defendant Malik Brown, who was a juvenile at the time of the offense, pled guilty to First Degree Murder, Robbery, Use of a Firearm, and Conspiracy.  His case was certified to the Circuit Court for trial as an adult due to the serious nature of the charges.  He faces up to 18 years in prison when sentenced on January 21, 2018.

Cole has prior convictions for Armed Robbery, Distribution of Marijuana, Possession of Cocaine, Possession of Firearm while Possessing Schedule I/II Drug, Possession of Firearm by Convicted Felon, and Possession of Marijuana.

Assistant Commonwealth's Attorney S. Mario Lorello and Deputy Commonwealth's Attorney Patrick J. Connolly prosecuted this case. Please contact Macie Allen if additional information is desired.

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